Kickass Women

History is filled with women doing all kinds of kickass stuff.

Smart Girls

Watch these girls... they're going places!

Inspiration

Need a dose of inspiration? Here you go.

SRPS Entertainment

Some of my entertainment recommendations with awesome female characters and stars.

She's Crafty!

Some of the awesome items made by kickass women!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Kickstart This! Paradox Girl

I love a good time-travel story as much as the next princess, don't get me wrong. But even as a kid, I had to accept the fact that they don't actually make sense from a purely logical standpoint. I suppose I was an adherent to the "wings of a butterfly" line of thinking before I even knew what that was.

Still, I enjoy the fantasy of being able to go back or forward in time, and so I happily wave away those niggling thoughts about cause and effect and whatnot in favor of enjoying the story.



I guess I'm not the only one, because Cayti Bourquin and Yishan Li's latest Kickstarter project Paradox Girl takes the time-travel trope and turns it on its head, giving us a heroine who jumps around trying to fix her fixes. Or something like that.
Paradox Girl's time travel powers aren't bound by the normal rules of cause and effect. Consequences can come before actions. A constantly shifting past means a constantly changing future, the two blending into an endless present. Her timeline criss-crosses over itself again and again. Consequently, she runs into herself a lot—and we mean a lot.
I was fortunate to be able to chat a bit with Paradox Girl's author Cayti Bourquin and editor Peter Bensley about this project and the importance of writing the stories we need to read. Paradox Girl has already met its Kickstarter goal, but you should still consider buying in. Not only will you be getting this fantastic story for yourself, but you'll be showing the comics industry that there really is a market for more female voices!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Music Break - Irma Thomas

I'm back from spending a week in Louisiana visiting my family, eating tons of delicious food, and doing a lot of sight seeing. One of the many highlights of my trip was getting to see the legendary "Queen of New Orleans" Irma Thomas perform. What an amazing woman!



I knew a couple of her songs from here and there, but seeing her live was a real treat. It felt as though the audience was a gathering of her closest friends, and instead of having a standing set list she just took requests yelled out by the audience.

The only disappointment: I would have loved to see more. But, at nearly 75 years old, it's still pretty awesome that she put on a 75 minute show full of emotion and dancing.

The best part of the show? When she started in singing her Second Line Medley, and a room full of people jumped up and started parading around the room waiving their handkerchiefs and napkins around. One women even brought a small umbrella just for that song.



Her most well-known song was also her first recorded song, "(You Can Have My Husband But Please) Don't Mess With My Man" written by Dorothy LaBostrie. In the over-50 years she has been performing and recording, she's had a slew of hits, and built an almost fanatical following. You can certainly add me to that list as well.

(photo source: nola.com)

If you like the work I do here on SRPS, please support me!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Kickstart This! In Between The Seams

Back in November, I shared a link on social media to story about an amazing all-female dance group out of Oakland, California, that is breaking down barriers and creating a place for women and girls in street dance beyond that of eye candy.
[F]or Oakland-based Jenay Anolin and Samara Atkins, both classically trained dancers who later fell in love with street dance, the options for women felt limiting. The pair met at a dance audition in 2008, and "in a lot of the groups that we were seeing, there was a heavy focus on the objectification of women," Anolin tells KQED Arts.


I've been following Mix'd Ingrdnts since then. I am in love with their mission to use dance as a way to inspire women to reach further, try harder, be more. And because they're based out of Oakland, it's almost natural that they'd also use their work to foster a stronger sense of community.
Mix’d Ingrdnts exists to empower women to express themselves and to hold platforms to help facilitate the community speaking up and out for the greater good. Mix’d also strives to empower youth through knowledge and dance in order to impact their lives so that they can impact others and their communities.


So it should be no surprise I was thrilled see their Kickstarter for their full length show In Between The Seams: Healing through Connection & Movement. It might be a stretch for someone who doesn't live in the area to consider backing this project, but I want to strongly encourage you to keep in mind how important it is to women all around the world to see the success of projects like this. We live in a highly connected world. It is this very sense of connection that Mix'd Ingrdnts wants to highlight in their show.
Connection is real. Whether it's seen our unseen. Connection is that invisible thread that we have with one another.
I couldn't agree more.

If you like the work I do here on SRPS, please support me!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Follow Friday - Her Story Arc

I have spent the last couple of years cultivating an RSS feed that somehow magically delivers me some of the very best stories from across my varied interests. As you might expect, I have a fair number of blogs on there dedicated to feminist and geeky pursuits. One of my absolute favorites is Her Story Arc. I know that whatever the post is about, it will be well worth the time to read it.
Her Story Arc is dedicated to finding and praising honest and progressive stories of women and girls in the media. We want to build a site where anyone who identifies as a woman can find a safe space to celebrate the steps our society is taking in the right direction. Feminists of all kinds–LGBTQ, POC, environmentalists, differently abled, from any economic/religious background–are welcome here.
Recently, I was fortunate to strike up a conversation with Lindsey Loree, the founder and editor of Her Story Arc. She's a remarkable woman, who shares many of my own passions. So when she agreed to do an interview, I jumped at the chance to share her story and the amazing work she's doing. If you're not already following Her Story Arc, you really should be!





SRPS: First off all, can you tell me a little about yourself? What are you working on? What are your goals? What inspires you?

LL: I'm a woman with many interests. In addition to running HerStoryArc.com I founded and chaired the Twin Cities Chapter of Geek Girl Brunch, and I am currently working on my MBA with an end goal of becoming a Certified Public Accountant. My future aspirations include starting my own business, running for public office, and publishing a book series I've been working on since I was 13. Sometimes life doesn't seem long enough to accomplish everything!

I am ambitious and find inspiration in other ambitious women. I can easily look back over my life and find my idols: Xena Warrior Princess, the Pink Ranger, Lessa from Dragonrider's of Pern, Rachel from Animorphs, and many others. I owe a debt to the men and women who created and breathed life into those characters, and it's a debt I take seriously. I want to help break all the ceilings and make it that much easier for the girls and women following behind me to achieve greatness.

SRPS: What is Her Story Arc?

LL: Her Story Arc is dedicated to finding and praising honest and progressive stories of women and girls in the media. It is a site where anyone who identifies as a girl or woman can find a safe space to celebrate the steps our society is taking in the right direction. We continually strive toward intersectionality within this mission.

At Her Story Arc you will not find posts on the latest terrible things being portrayed in the media regarding women. We are dedicated to finding the good in the world. We want to make you aware of who is doing it right. Let’s praise the creators, writers, actors, musicians, politicians, and everyday people making progress!

SRPS: What inspired you to create HSA?

LL: Her Story Arc started out as a personal blog I called (rather boringly) "Sense and Responsibility". It didn't take long for me to feel dissatisfied with personal blogging. I'm generally a private person and I didn't know what to say. Then a seed of an idea planted into my brain after observing the #NotBuyingIt campaign started by The Representation Project (formerly called Miss Representation). I saw the merits of boycotting and shaming companies into changing their ways, but I felt there needed to be more balance. We need a carrot and a stick. HerStoryArc.com is our carrot. While we are still small, we do our darnedest to help promote the creators and businesses we think are making a positive impact.

I came up with the name "Her Story Arc" while in a Marketing class I took toward fulfilling requirements to get my MBA. We had discussed branding and how important a good name is for an organization, so I made a long list of all the words I felt embodied my vision for the website I had in mind. I tried different combinations, and when I put together "her" and "story arc" I knew I had nailed it.

SRPS: What are your goals for HSA?

LL: My 5 year goal is to recruit enough writers that our collective experience and uniqueness will give HerStoryArc.com a wide lense through which readers can understand all aspects of feminism. My long long term goal is to hear cultural commentators on TV and elsewhere say "It looks like HerStoryArc is staying silent on this [insert medium], most likely due to...". It would be amazing if people turned to us to see if a movie/show/comic/etc. was good enough to get a review.

If this sounds exciting to you, consider volunteering your time and contributing to HerStoryArc! It's as easy as contacting me at editor@herstoryarc.com.

SRPS: Putting together a blog is a lot of work. What keeps you motivated?

LL: I consider HerStoryArc a responsibility that needs to be fulfilled. I don't always feel inspired or excited about maintaining and administering the site, but I feel compelled to keep it going. It's our collective contribution toward figuring out the society that we want to live in versus the society that we currently have. I strongly feel that we need to show people how much better things can be when we are inclusive, and give examples of what success looks like. If we talk about feminism without any concrete examples of what a feminist society looks like, or what feminist people/characters look like, we are confusing the issue for the uninitiated. They will fall back on what our mass culture has defined as feminism, and that definition is rife with decades of misinformation and slandering propaganda.

SRPS: Where can people find HSA online?

LL: You can connect to Her Story Arc on FacebookTwitter, Tumblr, and of course by going directly to HerStoryArc.com

If you like the work I do here on SRPS, please support me!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Kickstart This! Elusive

You may have noticed by now how most of the stories I share here are about kickass women and girls doing amazing things. And while it's my main goal in life to highlight these stories, I feel it's also important to recognize the fact that not all of these kickass princesses came out of the womb fully formed and in fighting shape. And even if they did, even the most badass of them will still have to face some tough life choices that will rock them to the core. It's just the nature of life.

At some point, we will all find ourselves in what feels like a no-win situation, whether it is feeling trapped in a loveless relationship or in a soul-sucking job. It's what we do about it that determines who we are. The troubles we face are what give our eventual self-rescuing the necessary context, and serve as the inspiration for others. And we don't always get it right the first time.



Three amazing and creative women, Ren HarrisCaitlin Gold, and Seri DeYoung, want to create a film that explores the often round-about process of self-discovery. Elusive is the tale of a young woman who finds herself faced with a difficult decision, and instead turns away from it.
Charlie is a woman who finds herself in a relationship that she's outgrown. Unable to face the facts, she embarks on a journey of self-destruction. "Elusive" is a dramatic short film that explores what happens when you can't go back, but you're too scared to move forward.
We need better representation of the full humanity of women in the media. Television shows are getting better about giving us interesting, complex, often flawed characters, although not on the scale I'd like. Films showing the inner lives of women are still somewhat limiting, and too often resort of dated tropes -- strong female character, sassy sidekick, bitchy ball-buster, etc. -- as a shortcut to skip doing that work.These one-dimensional representations leave me wanting more. Which is why it's so important we back projects like Elusive.
The need to tell this story came about after a breakup. Our writer, Ren, realized that women in media are rarely portrayed as being fully-fledged humans, with flaws, hang-ups, and fears. She confronts this issue through exposing Charlie's inaction through indecision. It is a story that, while told from a female perspective, we believe is one to which everyone can relate: finding one's voice and confronting one's fears, despite the consequences to either self or others.
Finding one's voice and confronting one's fears is what becoming a self-rescuing princess is all about.

If you like the work I do here on SRPS, please support me!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Kickstart This! Thru: An Appalachian Trail Documentary

I am a lifetime member of the Church of the Outside. I try to get outside as often as possible, even if only for a walk along the creek trail behind my house. At the age of 44, I completed my BA in Environmental Studies and Outdoor Education. Every year for my birthday, I drag all my friends out for a hike in a place I've never been before. When we got married, we were registered at REI. (The best gift? An awesome backpacking tent!)



As someone who loves exploring the great outdoors, I am fascinated by stories of women adventurers. I eagerly seek out their stories and read them with relish, dreaming about my own next adventure. Sadly, there are not as many stories out there as one would hope. Most outdoorsy publications are geared toward men. Outside? A dude's magazine. Documentaries about hiking? Mostly dudes, with the occasional woman -- usually a wife or girlfriend. [Note: I adore Women's Adventure Magazine]

Now, I'm sure some will argue that there isn't a viable market for more women-centered stories about outdoor adventures. Of the total number of people out on the trails, only about 1 in 4 are women. And I'm sure there are a lot of varying reasons for that. But even at 25%, there are lots of women out there hiking. In Wild Cheryl Strayed tells of meeting several women on the trail. Whenever I'm out hiking, I always see other women. So why aren't there more stories? Wouldn't reading or seeing these stories inspire even more women?

Good questions, and Patrice Kincade and Lindsay Taylor Jackson are attempting to address them in their film Thru - An Appalachian Trail Documentary.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Music Break - PHOX

It's been a couple of rainy, gray days here in Northern California, and I have been enjoying every last minute of them. I love each season in turn, and winter is no exception. On sunny days, I enjoy a trip outside for a brisk bike ride or hike. But the rainy days of winter are best spent nestled down with a comfy blanket and a good book, a cup of tea and some relaxing music. This week's soundtrack has included a whole lot of tunes from PHOX.




Monica Martin's voice is just so smooth and rich, it's like silk velvet - it just flows over you, enveloping you in its richness and warmth. I picked "Slow Motion" as the song to share here mainly because it's the one that was in my head when I woke up this morning, but the entire album is just plain beautiful. You can listen to the entire thing on Spotify, and find a couple of songs on SoundCloud.



What are you listening to these days? Anything fun or exciting? Please feel free to leave links in the comments.

If you like reading what I write here on SRPS, please support me!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Gamer Girl - Clash of Clans

About a year ago, Eric started playing a new game on his iPad -- Clash of Clans. At the time, I thought it was interesting watching over his shoulder, so I checked it out myself. I didn't really get into it right away, though. Honestly, I can't remember why exactly. I guess it felt too much like Farmville for my liking.



I stuck with it although I was continually annoyed with the behavior of too many of the people in chat and had a sinking feeling I would eventually give up on the whole game altogether. I just couldn't figure it out. On the one hand, it was fun to build up my base and to attack other people's bases. But I felt like I would never really get anywhere, and I didn't want to talk about it the open chat, and start a shitstorm there, so I just did my own thing in my own haphazard way.

I looked at joining a clan, but most looked like they were either very, very experienced, or they were filled with the same people I was seeing in open chat. Ugh. But I took a chance anyway, and joined one just to see.

My first clan wasn't all that great. The people were mostly OK, but they rarely talked, and never seemed to want to go to war (something you can only do while in a clan). I was frustrated but I continued to level my base up and chatted as often as I could hoping to draw them out. Eventually, one of the more active members left to join another clan, and I followed them. Sadly, as I expected, that clan wanted someone with far more experience that I had (I only had 3 war stars!), and they kicked me out within 2 days. But in that time, I got to witness the power of a well-run clan -- members who supported each other and were actively playing the game -- and I was hooked!